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crime prevention manager for the Richmond Police Department Michelle Milam offered residents tips on how to contact the police, and the importance of community involvement. (Photo by David Rodriguez)

Richmond on the watch

on November 16, 2019

Over 200 neighborhood watch groups across the city of Richmond are already working to keep their communities safe, and the most recent training drew more residents on Wednesday evening to learn how to start grassroots groups from Michelle Milam, crime prevention manager for the Richmond Police Department.

“Neighborhood watch is not [a] novel thing.  It’s nothing new, it is taking that old system … we did back in grandma’s day, where we look out for each other and create a structure to it,” said Milam.

The Richmond Police Department Crime Prevention program and the Crime Prevention executive board on November 13 offered residents tips on how to contact the police, and the importance of community involvement in what they said was really an old-fashioned form of neighborhood solidarity and concern.

“The first responder is not always going to be a police officer.  It’s not going to be a firefighter,” she said. “A lot of the time, the first responder is going to be your neighbor.”

Listening to Milam’s tips were Central Richmond residents Edward Davis and Millie Mae Davis, who attended the training in the hope of learning how to start a neighborhood watch in their own community. 

After attending the class, the Davises expressed their feeling that training provided useful information on crime prevention and reporting emergency and nonemergency incidents.

“Through education, and knowing which [service] numbers to call, people be less afraid [to report an incident],” said Millie Mae. 

The couple said they feel prepared to start their neighborhood watch in their community.

“[The class] is more like a motivational thing… [it] motivated us to get our neighborhoods involved,” said Edward. “[Neighborhood watch] makes the neighborhood safer and more knitted together as a community,” Millie Mae added.

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